16 phrases that show you’re a highly observant person

How observant are you? 

The way you speak has a lot of clues that help answer the question. 

In fact, the following phrases and questions are key indicators that you’re a highly perceptive and observant person. 

1) “Are you OK?”

Many times when people are struggling they put on a false front or a mask.

They pretend to be fine. 

But if you’re highly observant you see right through that mask like it’s made of tissue paper. 

You can see when someone is clearly not doing OK. 

2) “What happened?”

On a related note, you can see when somebody has suffered a trauma, either physical or emotional. 

You notice that slight limp…

You notice the hushed or strangled-sounding voice…

You can’t help but see that something clearly isn’t right, and you can’t pretend otherwise. 

Because being highly observant doesn’t grant you the luxury of going along with the charade. 

3) “What does your tattoo mean?” 

Have you ever seen a tattoo that just fascinates you? 

If you notice details of tattoos and think to ask about what they mean, then you’re among the more observant people out there. 

When you see details of somebody’s tattoo, even in passing, and ask what it means, this is a sign of high perceptiveness

You’re definitely an observant person and you’re also attuned to the people around you and what they care about. 

4) “I noticed you were reading about…”

When you notice what somebody’s reading it’s a definite sign that shows you’re highly observant

However, instead of just asking what somebody is reading about, the next level up is when you already have an insight or knowledge about what you were reading. 

If you are familiar with the title they’re reading or have an insight into the subject and a marker of ample curiosity and knowledge. 

It’s also a great way to break the ice… 

5) “I can see that this subject is important for you…”

Highly observant people notice when somebody cares a lot about something. 

It could be something you hear someone complaining about, praising or even just a word they keep repeating:

You notice!

By bringing it up, you also give somebody the opportunity to open up more about what they care about and explain it. 

6) “I hear what you’re saying…” 

The observant person notices with all five senses. 

If this is you, then your hearing is also a key component of what you perceive. 

As such, you can understand and empathize with what people tell you

You hear the words that they say and also what’s behind their words. 

7) “It’s interesting you should say that…” 

Not only do you hear what people say to you and catch its meaning…

You also have something to add or comment of your own. 

A highly observant person is not just a passive observer. 

He or she is a contributor.

If that’s you, then you take what people say to you and also provide your own insights and additions to it. 

8) “This neighborhood has changed so much…” 

Being observant includes a large component of situational awareness. 

When you notice the changes around you and what’s happened or changed in the environs it’s generally because you have your eyes wide open. 

Seeing small details that others might miss or the mannerisms of people walking by on the street explains so much to you…

Whereas to somebody else it might all seem like nothing at all. 

9) “This heavy traffic is related to…” 

You can actually tell a lot about a city and a culture from traffic. 

It’s like taking the temperature of a community:

How do people drive? 

Where do they congregate and turn and avoid and race?

Where do they slow down?

How does the shape of the roads speak to the mood of the city and the feeling of the place as a whole?

You may notice a lot about somewhere by paying attention to its traffic. 

10) “Can you tell me more about that?” 

Asking for more information about something or a followup from somebody shows that you’re highly observant. 

That’s because you can tell when somebody is potentially open to saying more.

And if you want to know, then why not ask? 

As Lachlan Brown writes

“Aside from listening intently, perceptive people have the habit of asking specific and thoughtful questions. 

“Their purpose is so that they can be more knowledgeable about what other people are thinking and feeling.” 

11) “My childhood was hard. It seems like yours was, too?”

Many times you can see when somebody has been through the wringer. 

The way they talk and act, along with their sensitivity and personality tells you that they went through a lot to become who they are. 

You figure it might be traced back to their childhood, just as it likely is for you. 

“Kids who don’t conform, have a mind of their own, respond intensely to small things in their environment and have lots of questions about the status quo tend to evoke impatience and short-temperedness in already stressed-out parents and other adults,” observes licensed marriage and family therapist Marianna Jakucska

12) “What was really behind this is…” 

When you’re highly observant, you see deeper behind the scenes in current events and what’s going on. 

Whether it’s breaking news in your city or a wider issue going on in the world, you’re the kind of person who’s able to weigh in and give your opinion about what’s happening. 

While others may be lost and confused, you have real insights and opinions about what’s at stake. 

13) “The influence of this industry on the region can’t be overstated…” 

We’re not all historians or economists, so you can’t blame anyone for not really drawing some connections. 

But being a highly observant person often includes noticing a link between a region’s industry and its society and culture. 

If you’re in West Virginia you see the imprint of coal mining everywhere…

When you’re in Maine you see the influence of fishing and life on the sea in the people and places. 

You’re definitely observant!

14) “Do you know the history of…?” 

When you’re a very observant person, you see history around you. 

After all, everything we’re experiencing in the here and now is also technically “history being made.”

When you are able to point out the relevant history of somewhere, you become a real asset. 

You are expanding knowledge about what’s going on and why… 

15) “You seem to have a very deep bond with this person / pet / place…” 

When you’re a highly observant person you notice what people care about and you clearly see how much they connect with a person, place, or even pet…

You can see the emotion in their face and are able to comment on it and ask about it. 

16) “That’s true, and…” 

When you’re highly observant, you appreciate other folks who are also highly observant. 

You like to be in an ongoing dialogue about what’s true and interesting and notable. 

As such you are a contributor to the conversation.

You’re noticing things and talking to other people who are as well. 

It’s like one big highly perceptive circle.

The thing about being observant…

Being highly observant gives you enormous power…

You see more than most and that means you have more data coming in that you can use and decide upon. 

The result is that you have much more to work with than the average person. 

You can plan your next step with a lot of insight and depth, and you can connect to others on a more profound level. 

If you’re highly observant you’ve been blessed: use this gift well! 

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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